Precursor To An Election Night Drama.

John Sheppared walked into the ambush.  He knew the ambush was there.  He had seen them from his window.  Still an ambush and not even the Secret Service could keep the reporters away.  "Yes, ladies and gentlemen?  Was it this important that you had to interrupt my planned PT run?"

"Sir, you've been seen in the Slayer house in Cleveland," one shouted.  "Are you seeing someone there?"

"No.  Yesterday I was dropping off some friends who are excellent warriors who wanted to talk to them.  Plus a few Marines who are seeing if they'd like to be field watchers.  I'm not seeing anyone."

"Sir, we see you a lot with Mr. Harris," one shouted.  "Are you friends?"

"Xander's a great guy," he said with a grin and a small shrug.  "Half the time you see him he's dealing with something and I'm in the way."

"Are you maybe seeing him?" another one shouted.  He glared.  "It would be a good match, sir, and you might calm him down when he's bouncy."

"No, I'm not gay, people."

"Is he gay?"

"I've never asked him," he said sarcastically.  "Go ask him that, not me."

"I'm sure our affiliates up there will," another said.  "Sir, we hear there's a threat to the Slayers?  Is this going to compromise national security?"

"No.  This is another branch of the conspiracy to kill them all that got stopped a few years back.  I'll have the press secretary prepare a briefing on that if you guys are that interested."

"Is that related to the presidential limo being shot at when you got back from vacation?" she asked.  The others were staring at her oddly.

"Yup."  He grimaced.  It figured he'd get half entertainment reporters and a few serious ones thrown in to jinx the mix.  "I got a concussion from it.  Jack got a headache from being banged around.  Evan Lorne broke his wrist.  That's how we found out, one of them is the ex-boyfriend of a slayer."

"So, this conspiracy won't affect everyone?"

"Not unless there's another mega apocalypse," he offered.  "We're working with them to stop it."  That got more pictures taken.  He stretched and a few more got taken, making him smirk.  "You're interrupting my run, people.  I need to stay in shape to get away from all the name hunting bimbos."  They cooed and he smirked, taking off jogging.  Flash some ab and a bit of a grin at a reporter and they always got out of his way.  Jack should try that sometime.

"Sir, how do you like Mrs. O'Neill's new look?" one called after him.

"Buffy wanted to thrill her husband, and apparently it worked," he called back.  "She looked good."  He turned the corner, his guards on each side of him.  "God, I feel like I was sucked at by a wraith," he muttered.  They laughed.  "Ten miles today, guys?"

"If we must, sir," one agreed.

"Yes we must, in case I end up in a battle again."  It was better, he was free soon.  Just two and a half more years.  Then he could go back to being a colonel.  He had already quashed the rank raise idea going around.  He didn't want to go play politics at the Pentagon after this.  It might make him start sniping politicians.  Which might be a bad thing.


Xander saw the ambush and walked out with the girls. "If you make them miss the bus, I'm staking all of you," he warned.  They got out of the slayers' way.  "No pictures of the girls.  You know better.  Don't make me confiscate things."  That one quit taking pictures, giving him a sheepish look.  "Why the ambush tactics, people?"

"Are you gay?"

"Technically I'm bi with a strong leaning toward women but now and then gay sex doesn't sound so bad.  Especially with some of the women I've dated," he said dryly.  "Why else are you bothering us this morning?  That's not newsworthy enough."

"The Vice President has been seen here recently a few times, sir."

"Yes, he got us some wonderful people to help train the girls to a higher standard and a few new possible field watchers, plus to help us with the conspiracy to kill all the girls that's going on again.  Buffy was with him to have dinner with the slayers."  He shrugged.  "And?"

"Sir, are you seeing him?"

"He's never flirted with me, shown that it might be good, clean, messy fun, or that he likes guys.  Why would we be dating?  Are you smoking more than the usual crack?  Did someone lace it on you?"  The others laughed.  "Seriously, people, there's got to be real news somewhere else.  Faith just got in from patrol and you're keeping her from sleeping."  They fled at that threat.  He walked inside, slamming the door, shaking his head.  "I have no idea what they laced their usual crack with."

Faith looked at him from the couch.  "I'm a good threat," she joked.

He blew a kiss.  "One of the best.  The only better one is Buffy in jammies with anti-zit goop on her face in the middle of the night.  Should've seen the vamps flee that patrol."  He went to the kitchen to get some coffee.  Dawn appeared with a pout.  "Don't you have to stop that sometime soon?"

"No," she pouted. "Sam's mean, Xander."

He stared at her.  "He's supposed to be celebrating the baby, Dawn."

"He said we can't."

"Bullshit.  He read the wrong article.  Have your OB straighten that out."  She nodded, going back to pounce him again, even if he didn't like it.  He rolled his eyes.  Andrew added extra chocolate syrup to his coffee.  "Thanks, 'Drew."  He went to bed.  He had been up all night talking with the Amazons.  They had wondered how he drew evil women, that way they could use it to find any spies they had.  He had offered to come up for a bit but Ronon had shaken his head that wasn't going to be allowed.  Which was a pity.  Xander might like playing with the amazons.

Faith shook her head, laying back down to catch a few more hours of sleep.  Xander was seriously insane these days.  She had no idea what had done it to him in Africa, but clearly that's when it had begun.  Now it was the girls finishing it off.  And hers probably too.  She needed a vacation and a hot guy between her thighs.  She decided to give up on sleep and go find Ronon.  He was a great sparring partner and if she knocked him down....  All good on her, right?


John walked out of a senate hearing to a single reporter waiting on him.  That was nice of her.  "What?" he asked as he walked past her.

"I'm not actually here for you today, sir."  He beamed at her for that so she snapped a picture.  "When are you going to announce you're running for president?"

"I'm not running for president.  I'm looking forward to being a simple colonel again," he said with a smile.  "If you're stalking the wench from Louisiana, she missed today."

"I was," she admitted.  "She's hiding in her office."  She smirked.  That was a really bad cheating scandal and she wanted to shout a few more questions at her.  She did send back what she had already.  Maybe they could O'Neill him?  The world was a safer place with him and O'Neill in office.


John looked out at the sound of his assistant giggling.  "What happened now?"

"The new ad for you, sir."  She reran the video, letting him see it.

"No!  I'm not running," he complained, moaning to go bitch to Jack.  "They're doing it to me now."

"The press secretary says it's called O'Neilling," Buffy chirped from her seat and paperwork.  "Tax time?"

"Eww.  Don't remind me."  He looked at Jack.  Who could only shrug.  "I said I'm not running."

"So did I.  Look where it got me."

"No steak for a while," Buffy quipped.

John scowled at her.  "That's mean."  He walked off pouting.  He went to the press secretary.  "I am *not* running."

"Yes, sir, I've said that a few times now.  Apparently they're going to O'Neill you into office anyway."  He smiled.  "Most people say they feel safer with you two in office.  Then you can appoint Evan Lorne as your VP."

John gave him a dirty look.  "He'd shoot me.  He's gotten mean recently without me there to pick on him."  He went back to his office to sulk.  Buffy got him some ice cream from the kitchen, which made him a bit happier, but still pouty.  It was like his life was on hold until he got out of DC for good.  Because this was driving him nuts.  He wished he was back in Pegasus fighting for his life some days.

Your life was sad when you missed being stalked by the wraith.

Yeah, he had to get out of DC soon.  Maybe those nice press people that stalked him would like to overhear an impolite rant?


Jack walked past John's office the next morning snickering.  "It won't work," he called.  "I tried that too."

"Bite me," he called.  He was still pouty.  He had even stolen Buffy's chocolates.  Why couldn't they let him go?  He'd do almost anything to get out of DC short of a wish demon.

Buffy leaned in.  "Even thinking the w-word can draw them," she noted.  "And you're buying me a new box since I have PMS."  She went to her own office to deal with first lady things.  "Why am I doing the household budget?" she asked that folder.  She sat down to muddle through it.  Not like she had ever paid rent or anything in her life.  She got it to the point where it looked reasonable to her and went to find Jack.  "Does that look reasonable?"

He looked then at her.  "We don't eat that much," he said with a smile.

She huffed.  "I moved from mom's to college to Cleveland.  Mom or Giles took care of all that bill paying stuff."

He pulled her closer to go over all the bills with her.   She nodded and made adjustments, which made it more humanly possible.  He even nicely put in a shopping allowance for her needs.  He was making big bucks right now, he could do that and she had to look nice all the time.  Though, the jeans she was wearing....  He blocked that thought out, he had staff meetings all day and then a meeting with the ambassador for Spain.  She kissed him and took the folder with her to her office when staff members started to come in.  She could work on the 'income' portion herself.  She knew how much she got a month and what he made.  "We seriously need a weekend at the cabin away from all this stuff," she muttered.  "He gets two weeks of vacation a year."

Her assistant leaned in.  "I can check his book to see when a good time is, Mrs. O'Neill."

Buffy beamed.  "Please?  Even just a weekend away from all this paperwork?"

"I'll check."  She went to talk to Chuck about that.  They did need some newlywed time.  They had taken the least time off any sitting president and handled fewer crises.  That's why she was voting for Sheppard even if he was squeamish about taking the reins.


Buffy walked up to Jack that night.  "There will be no crisis next week."

"You saying that means there will be," he pointed out.  He looked up and smiled.  "Why won't there be?"

"Thursday we're heading to the cabin so you can fish."  She smiled.  She walked off.   "I even got you a new fishing lure."

He grinned, shaking his head.  He did love his goofball wife.  He could imagine her in the bait shop by the Potomac talking about what to fish for in a cabin lake.  He finished up and went to make sure he had jeans and t-shirts ready.  She had already packed the bag and had it beside the doorway for them.  "Only one bag?" he teased.

She smirked.  "I only need jeans, t-shirts, my sneakers, and some cute lingerie I found, dear."

He kissed her.  "That might be nice."  He took another one and went back to the office.  That gave him something to look forward to.  He got the notice from his chief of staff.  "Why are we making a diplomatic trip?"

"To pay them back for coming to see us a few years ago."

"Can John go?"

"Definitely.  Their daughters are all crushing hard on him."  He went to tell John that.  He liked to get a bit gussied up and be admired.  Sometimes.  "Sir."  John looked up at him.  "Diplomatic trip.  It got delegated to you so the press can't follow Buffy around wondering why she's wearing chunky heels again."  He handed over the information sheet.  "They do like you just as much and the girls are all crushing hard on your poster.  They're eight, ten, and twelve months."  He smiled and walked off.

"Do I have to bring a gift?" he called.

"Yes.  We'll pick one out for you."

"Cool with me," he decided.  "At least I'll get out of DC for a while."  He checked his schedule and decided he could slip back to his real office for a few hours.  He disappeared after calling for a beam out.  He could whine at Rodney about being crushed on by little girls.  Evan would enjoy him complaining too.  He found Rodney watching Willow nap and smiled.  "Are you perhaps crushing a bit?" he taunted with an evil smirk.

"No, not at the moment.  She's very nice but likes girls."  He looked back.  "Snuck away again?"

"Yup, after being told I'm going on a diplomatic trip soon."  He came in to look at her.  "How's she doing?"

"Good.  She's drained over half of it out of her.  It's going faster the longer it goes."  He looked up.  "Hiding from politicians?"

"Yup.  Bring you back anything from Europe?"

"You could bring my sister back."

"I can probably arrange to swing by Canada and visit," he said dryly.  He smirked and went to find Evan since Rodney was busy moping and in lust.  He came back and told him about Oz, explaining why she liked girls, and what Buffy had told him about Tara.  Rodney smiled at that so he left him in his sighs of 'I'd tap that'.  "Evan," he called when he spotted him.

"If you're going to coopt me like O'Neill did you, sir, go back to DC."

"Hell no!  I'm escaping right now."  He smiled.  "You sure?  I'm trying really hard to get out of staying in DC."

"The news this morning had you ahead in all polls," Evan said with a mean smirk.


"Uh-huh.  So go sleep with someone skanky or something.  That should help."

"The republicans would all appreciate that too much."

"So go sleep with Harris.  They seem to like that idea."

John snorted.  "No thanks.  I need help hiding."

"We won't even have beef tonight, sir."  John laughed and nodded.  They walked off together to catch up and relax.  "Have you seen McKay moping over Rosenburg yet?" he asked quietly.

"Yup.  I told him some things Buffy told me."  He grinned.  "They'd be adorably dorky babies some year."  Evan nodded he agreed.  They settled in the office.  For some reason this paperwork wasn't so bad anymore.  He was a lot happier with Atlantis than he was in DC.  Why couldn't people see that?


Xander watched the reporter speculate on who John Sheppard, who had unfortunately won the primaries, would take as his Vice President.   He was starting to get a bad feeling about this.  "And just before an apocalypse battle too," he quipped.   "Well, maybe he'll get injured and they'll let him retire."  He went back to checking all the weapons over.  This was really going to be nasty.  Very, very nasty.   It was even going to be in Virginia this time over a hellgate they hadn't known was there.  Dean was going there already to see if he could disable it.  Unfortunately it was inside a classified building as far as he knew.  Which would mean they'd need Presidential help.  He went to talk to their arms master about that issue.  Before it got out of hand.


John got the note from Cleveland and groaned.  "Jack, another one," he called.  He walked it that way, meeting Jack in the hallway.  "Your wife's backup people."  He let him read it.

Jack grimaced.  "That sucks."

"Muchly.  That's a classified building too."

"That doubly sucks.  Let me find out what they're doing.  They're probably screwing something up."  He went back to his office to call around.  This was not good timing.  John may get hurt really badly so he could retire.  The people running against him were morons who'd screw up worse than Jack had.  He wasn't sure he was ready for that yet.


Xander dove into the battle with the aliens, which was freaky to him, and demons, which was kinda normal.  How they had merged he wasn't sure, but it was ugly.  He saw the beamed in people and sighed in relief.  He and the girls were stumbling badly today.  The soldiers had energy weapons.  "Fall back behind the soldiers, girls.  Guard them," he ordered.  They moved to protect them and Xander moved to us usual spot, in front by Faith, and as it happened John Sheppard and Evan Lorne.  "How did they get together?" he asked.

"I have no idea," John admitted.

"We were going to ask you that," Evan quipped.  Dean dove out of the way of a weapons discharge that took the demon's hand off.  Evan went to back him up since he was a pretty decent fighter and the girls were listening to him.

Xander got hit with something, he wasn't sure what, only that it had been meant for John and he was in the way.   He fell onto John, knocking him out of the way of another one.

Faith got them both out of harm's way and got that alien.  "Andrew!" she shouted.  "Evacuate!"  She pointed.  He floated them off to the paramedics already arriving.  She dove back into the battle.  John got to come back a few minutes later but the demons were really gunning for him.  Xander wobbled over, holding his side, but dove back in.  "Injured," she complained.

"Yay.  I've fought with worse.  When I'm drunk sometime, ask me about fighting a group of sacrificing, flesh eating demons with a concussion and two gunshot wounds," he quipped.  She glared at him.  "It was necessary!  I was by myself too before you say shit."

"Fine.  We'll talk about that later."  Buffy, Jack, and their guards showed up with some people from the Mountain's forces.  "Yay, reinforcements."

"Wonderful, why are they arming a bomb?" he asked.  He pointed.  "Bomb!"  They all backed away from there.  Xander texted something to someone as they moved and a case fell at his feet with a note on top that they owed him majorly.  He opened it and pulled out the weapon.  John tried to take it but Xander snatched it back.  "Specially created," he warned.  He turned it on the demon and alien brigade and fired.  It left with a plume of smoke and exploded near their bomb, which destroyed it before it could go off.  It also fumed out and killed the aliens.  "Ladies, that's your job," he called.  They rushed back in, Buffy and Faith in the lead.

Someone came over to confiscate the weapon.  "Who made that?" he demanded.

"It's based off a formula some guy named Zelenka had a few years back.  One of the weapons dealing demon clans had it for an off-world war."  He dove back in and the fight was slowly being cleaned up.  The soldiers were still helping, and that was nice of them, but Xander got hit again on the wound and went down with a groan.  John got him out of harm's way, letting him lean on him.  "Damn, I feel old," he complained.

"You and me both, Xander."  He walked him to the paramedics.  Xander spotted one and shot him as the guy was pulling a gun.  "Conspiracy?"

"Yuppers."  He guarded John while the Secret Service rushed over to grab those people.   Two were real paramedics so John turned Xander over to them while he helped his guards round up the problem people.  "How many slayers went?" Xander called.

"Three but Andrew went with them," John said.

He called Andrew.  "We found conspiracy guys with the ambulance crews, 'Drew."  He hung up and winced, holding his side.  That ached like hell.  He was bleeding again too.  "Guys, bleeding some.  Can I get a pressure bandage or something?"  They took him off, letting him calm himself down on the way to the ER.  Too bad they hadn't checked the driver of the ambulance or whether or not there were gas canisters.

John looked around, shaking his head.  "Track the ambulances," he ordered.  They nodded and rushed off, leaving him in good hands with the rest of the Secret Service patrol and his former units.  John looked at his people.  "Clean this shit up.  Then we'll fade."  They nodded, wading in to finish all this off.  John got a call saying that the conspiracy people had Xander.  He and two teams went to rescue him since it was a day of emergencies.  The Secret Service went with them of course.  They really hated it when John rushed into things that way.


Xander woke up in a hospital room, blinking at the women beside him.  "Did I lose any vital organs?"

"About a foot of intestine," Faith said with a small shrug.  "Would've been your appendix too but you already had that out."

"Yeah, way back when."  He made the bed sit up.  "How many did we lose?"

"Three," Buffy admitted, swallowing.  "Their funerals are tomorrow."

"I'll be there."

She relaxed.  "You're still not a slayer."

"I've faced more danger than you have."

"So I'm hearing.  Which doesn't make me happy.  We wouldn't have let you go to Africa if we knew how dangerous it was."

He gave her a dirty look.  "I nearly got burned at the stake once too," he quipped.  "They thought the eyepatch meant I was an evil witch there to destroy them."  She shuddered.  "I'll be fine."

"Good.  The girls wanted to fuss," Faith warned.

He nodded.  "They usually do."  He grinned.  "I'll be there for the funeral then heal in my room at home."

"If they let you out," Buffy warned.  "They might not."

"I can sign myself out.  I've had worse than this."  She glared at him.  He stared back.  She huffed finally and let it go.  "Anything else I should hear?"

"There's a push to get John Sheppard to name you his VP candidate," Faith offered.

"Hell no!" he shouted.

"Oh, yes," Buffy said with a grin.  "You can be the next Scoobie in the White House."

"They can't want me.  Not with how bad I did in school and things."

"Apparently you make them feel safe and other world leaders are just as scared of you," Buffy said with a grin.  She patted him on the hand.  "I'll give you fashion advice."  They got up and left him in his misery.  It served him right for getting so injured.


John looked at the press people.  "I'm still not running," he told them.

"That's fine, sir, we'll O'Neill you into office," one quipped.  John glared.  "How is Mr. Harris?"

"I'm told he's fine.  I was going to check on him later since he took that shot to protect me."  He pointed at another one.  "What?"

"Sir, there's a move to name him your VP."

"He'd hate it more than I would.  Beyond that, I don't know what party he votes or even if he votes."  They nodded at that.  They didn't look too concerned.  He'd have to warn the kid.  "Is there anything else that's not about that headache making subject?"

"Sir, how are your city's soldiers?"

"They're fine.  A few have minor injuries.  I checked on them last night."  They wrote that down.  "Before you can ask, Landry's people are just about the same as mine."  That got another note made.

"Is the President injured or his wife?"

"She's a bit bruised.  He's got a few too.  Got a graze pulling her out of the way of an energy beam.  Otherwise she's babying him like he's really injured today."  They all smiled.  "Anything about something other than the battle?"

"Sir, if one happened in another country, would the slayers and your teams go?"

"I'd hope we could trust the local soldiers enough to let them jump in.  The slayers are committed to going anywhere there's an apocalypse battle.  Even if it's an unfriendly country.  I doubt even Iran would like to fall to a demon horde.  Some places like that have been training soldiers in how to deal with it after figuring out they're screwed because they didn't want slayers.  So they're handling it on their own.  Our soldiers would only go if asked."

"Have you talked to any other world leaders today?"

"Nope, not planning on it today either," he quipped.  "Though the Japanese ambassador sent me a very nice bottle of scotch last night in thanks for winning that.  His wife is due any day now and he was hoping it wasn't going to be during that."  He pointed at one.  "Anything else?  I have things I have to swear at today before I'm nagged by the Senate."

"How many of the slayers were injured?"

"Buffy didn't give me a count but I know six got evacuated due to injuries.  Two more attempted kidnapings from the battle, one by that conspiracy group and one by someone who wanted her as a girlfriend and was worried she'd be hurt.  The Secret Service rescued both of them."

"We heard Mr. Harris was captured by that same conspiracy group and you personally went on his rescue?" one shouted from the back.

John looked at her.  "Did you have too much coffee?  You're sounding hyper.  Yes I did. I figured I'd even out all the times he's helped save me."  He walked off shaking his head.  This was really looking bad again.  "I'm still not running," he called.

"We know, sir."  They got back to work ignoring his huffing like a girl over being a future president with Harris as his VP.  He'd get used to it.


John snuck into Xander's hospital room, looking at him.  "Sorry if they ask if we're dating."

Xander waved a hand, giving him a smirk.  "They asked that before.  I'm almost used to that one.  Are you going to the funerals tomorrow?"

"Yeah, I am."  He came over.  "How are you feeling?"

"Pretty decent for having been tortured.  They tell me the liver damage will heal."

"That's good."  He grinned.  "They're getting pushy."

"I heard from Buffy.  She said she'd give me fashion advice."  They both rolled their eyes.  "If Iran would like we can train some of their soldiers to nearly be as good as a slayer."

"They think they have a unit that is."

"Then invite one to spar with Buffy.  Or Faith."

"True.  A few want to test their people's skills."  He leaned on the foot of the bed.  "When do you get out?"

"Tomorrow for the funerals.  Then I'll rest at home and lock the door so the girls can't fuss."

"With that sort of damage?"

"Even if I'm in a wheelchair," he said, looking totally serious.

"They can take you and bring you back."

"That would leave me in a hospital bed," he pointed out dryly.  "I'd like to escape."

"You'll need home care and a lot of doctor checks for that damage."

"Dawn's already vowed to drag me to the docs with her."  John snickered at that.  "She's a pushy pregnant woman.  I don't know why Sam isn't curing that for her."

"That's fine.  They're both in town.  I saw Dean earlier."

"That's cool.  They needed to be here for the funeral too," he agreed.  "So, how's things otherwise?"

"Fine.  Nosy but fine."  He patted him on the foot.  "Get better and thanks."  Xander looked clueless.  "You took that energy bolt shot for me, Xander."  He smiled and left.  It figured the guy would play clueless about that.  They went back to John's house and got comfortable for the night.  He wasn't watching the news.  It would give him bad nightmares again.  He did write a formal letter to the other leaders who had slayer units about possibly getting them some sparring time with the senior slayers so they could see how they measured up.  They could do it in private so the guys wouldn't be embarrassed.


Xander came in from the funeral and went to puke.  "I thought that was Dawn's job," Dean called since he walked in next.

"No, that's the liver damage," Sam told him.  "I'm so finding him someone good to look at that for him."  He went to look up liver specialists online.  Xander needed to be healed or the girls would be horrible and mourn for years.  Xander came out and went right to bed, as he had promised he would.  "John Hopkins is a few hours away by plane," he said, considering it.  His brother and wife gave him an odd look.  "It's a good hospital."

"True," Dean agreed.  "It's not that far away."  He looked at Buffy since she was walking in.  "Xander's in bed after puking."

"We all know he should be in the hospital," she pointed out.  "I was going to send him at one of the single slayers to help her for a bit near a decent hospital."

"John Hopkins."   Sam let her see it.

She smiled and found the phone number to call and talk to them about his problem.  They agreed to see him as a patient.  She and Dawn could get him there later that day.  Even if he was asleep during the transport.  The doctors looked over the records from the last hospital and his medical history, deciding to put him in a bed immediately, before he woke up.  That stopped all that fussing and the girls could bring him jammies and things.  Plus it would mean there might be a slayer local for a while to take care of the zombie problem they were having.


Buffy was walked into the press room.  "Martin said one of you guys had a question for me?"

"Mrs. O'Neill, where did Mr. Harris get admitted to?"

"John Hopkins after the funeral.  He wasn't as healed as he had hoped.  My sister got him there while he was napping and they agreed he should be in a bed.  Her husband found a very good liver person."


"That shot he took for John was in his side, just below it, and then my ex decided to try to torture him a bit.  For which I hope like hell John kicked his ass.  He'll be fine.  I'm told the damage is healing, not as fast as Xander would like but oh well.  Why the concern?"

"There was a report of a zombie attack on John Hopkins earlier," one told her, letting her see that report.  She read it over, grimacing.  "Was someone there visiting?"

"I wasn't but I'm hoping it was someone other than Xander who helped."  She called.  "It's me.  Who was with Xander this morning, Dean?"  She listened to him complain it had been Xander, that Dawn had gotten there too late to help with more than the clean up.  "Uh-huh.  How is he?"  Dean's answer of 'hiding in a closet' made her smirk.  "Yes, he probably should.  Any new damage?  No, I'm amazed he could swing a sword with that too.  Thanks."  She hung up.  "Yes, the idiot did it.  I'm going to have to nag him later about not being a slayer."

"He is your trainer and battle master," one reminded her.

"He's still not a slayer and he's injured.  He does stupid stuff, gets hurt, and makes the girls worry.  They have enough to worry about without Xander being hurt."  She walked off.  She yelped as John swatted her across the back of the head.

"Being human instead of a slayer isn't a lesser state," he reminded her.

"I don't want to see him hurt!" she complained.

"That's his choice, not yours."  He stared her down.  "Soldiers do things like that, Buffy."  She sighed and nodded.  "It may suck, but that's his choice.  The same as it for Dean and Sam."

"If it was your friend you'd complain."

"If it was my friend I'd support him and help him heal faster."  She nodded, stomping off.  "He said you went into that mode after things," he muttered.  Though he had no idea how Xander had been able to swing a sword with those injuries.  He wouldn't be able to without pain killers.  Maybe they had him on some good ones.  He hoped.  He went to check in and then went for a run in the gym.  This election stuff was driving him nuts.

Buffy went to pout at Jack, who would see both sides, and hopefully side with her about not wanting Xander hurt.  He might not fully get her points but he would want the guy to stay uninjured so the girls wouldn't have to mourn him.


John smiled as the slayer team filed into Congress a month later.  "It seems we meet again for the same reason," he quipped.  He got the medals they were there to receive and Jack got let in so he could hand them over.  A few were different slayers this time.  Dean and Sam were still fidgeting.  Dawn too this time.  But she was nearly due.  They all hoped her water didn't break today.  Xander was on a cane this time and not looking pleased.  John smiled at him.  "You get a special commendation as well for the zombie attack you helped foil while in a hospital bed," he announced.  The senate clapped at that.  A few hooted too.  Xander blushed, letting John pin that on him as well.  Finally it was done and they got to go eat.  Dawn could blip back to her specially shielded room in case her magic went crazy.  Sam and Dean got lunch and followed later.  It was a good day and they were getting used to things.  Xander would do fine being more public.  Eventually.

To next Book: